Coca-Cola unveils plastic recycling scheme for London 2012

Coca-Cola has announced it is planning to recycle all clear plastic waste collected at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games into 80 million new coke bottles.

The pledge forms part of Coca-Cola’s drive to achieve its most sustainable sponsorship deal to date and falls in line with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) pledge to make the games the most sustainable yet.

As part of the initiative, all colourless coke and non-coke clear PET plastic waste from the Olympic Park will be recycled by Coca-Cola into new Coke bottles within six weeks of the closing ceremony.

Coca-Cola has estimated that the recycling scheme will process one fifth of all the consumer waste produced at London 2012 venues, and should help LOCOG to deliver its target of sending zero waste to landfill, with at least 70% of all waste being reused, recycled or composted.

As part of the process, all colourless PET plastic waste will be recycled at Continuum Recycling, Coca-Cola’s new joint venture recycling facility with ECO Plastics, based in North Lincolnshire, which is set to open in the first quarter of 2012.

The site is anticipated to more than double the current production of food-grade recycled PET plastic in the UK from 35,000 tonnes in 2010 to more than 75,000 tonnes.

In addition, Coca-Cola said it is planning on distributing its products to the Olympic Park and trade customers from a more environmentally-friendly Voltaic warehouse in Dagenham, London, while deliveries will be made using 14 new biogas lorries and chilled in HFC free coolers.

According to Coca-Cola, these investments are estimated to help cut the carbon footprint of its distribution to the Games by a third.

Commenting on the scheme, Coca-Cola Enterprises UK managing director Simon Baldry, said: “Coca-Cola is committed to supporting the delivery of a truly sustainable London 2012, and we are working in partnership with suppliers and organisations that are critical to delivering our plans”.

“But the benefits will not end there. By incorporating them into our long-term supply chain we’ll achieve environmental benefits well beyond the Games. Our investment in Continuum Recycling shows the scale of our ambition. Our vision is challenging, but we know it will make a positive difference – to individuals, communities and the planet.”

WWF programme manager Simon Lewis, welcomed the news saying: “The strength of the Coca-Cola brand puts it in a unique position to trigger a significant shift in sustainable behaviour with the potential to leave a legacy of positive environmental change long after the Olympics have left town.

“I welcome this strategy for supporting the delivering of a sustainable Games. Coca-Cola, in association with WWF, will address the critical challenges involved, and help to set new industry standards that we hope will make a difference in London, across the UK, and around the world.”

Carys Matthews

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